Are you ready for buying your first RV? If you're anything like us, the thought of spending a summer without regular weekend getaways sounds unbearable. But what's the best way to make sure you can travel as much as you want without breaking the bank? You've been dreaming of traveling the country in an RV for years. But you're not sure where to start or how much it will cost. Don't become overwhelmed with the decision process.
Imagine having your own RV that's ready to go at a moment's notice. It has everything you need, including a kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, living room, and your favorite pillow – all in one vehicle!
With these valuable tips for buying an RV, you'll be well on your way to enjoying the freedom and adventure that comes with owning your own recreational vehicle. By doing some research before purchasing an RV, owning one can be a dream come true. There are many things to consider when purchasing an RV like size, price range, fuel economy, etc., so make sure to read my full post before making any decisions!
Know Your Budget for an RV Investment
It's essential to know your budget when buying an RV. Purchasing a new vehicle can be expensive, so you need to make sure you can afford one that fits your needs. There are various RVs on the market, so take some time to figure out your best purchase options.
Before you start shopping for a Recreational Vehicle, it's crucial to have a budget and make a list of essential features for YOUR needs. RVs can be expensive, so you'll want to make sure you can afford the one you're interested in. It's also important to remember other costs are associated with owning an RV, such as insurance, maintenance, and repairs. Be sure to factor those costs into your budget as well. Once you have a budget in mind, you'll be able to narrow down your search and focus on finding the RV that's right for you. And that's when the fun begins!
How Will You Use Your RV?
Carefully consider how you will be using your RV. If you plan on using it mainly for camping trips, you'll need one that's sturdy and able to handle rough terrain. If you plan on using it for long-distance travel, you'll seek out one that's comfortable and has all the amenities you need including ample storage compartments.
Choose the Right Size RV
When it comes to RVs, size does matter. You need to make sure you choose an RV that's the right size for your needs. If you plan to use it for occasional weekend trips, a smaller RV will suffice. But if you plan on traveling for long periods, you might need a larger RV with more space. You need to ensure it's large enough for your needs, but not too big that it's difficult to drive or park. Consider how many people will be traveling with you and ensure there is ample space for comfortable sleep, too. Narrow your decision for size based on how you plan on using your RV.
Consider Your Towing Capacity
If you want to pull your RV behind a car or truck, you must make sure your vehicle can handle the weight. RVs can be very heavy, so double check your vehicle's appropriate towing capacity. You don't want your RV to be too heavy for your car, as this can cause problems when you're driving.
The reverse is true as well. If you tow a car behind your larger RV or motorhome, be sure that you can handle the additional weight and navigate effectively with the extended length.
Think About Vehicle Options and Amenities
When choosing an RV, think about amenities. Do you want one with a separate kitchen or just basic cooking units? A full bathroom or an outdoor standing shower only? A bedroom with a door or a couch that doubles as a bed in the main area? Think about what amenities you'll need and find a suitable RV.
Most motorhomes come with a kitchen, a bathroom, and a bedroom. They often have slide-outs for additional space when the vehicle is parked, making it easy for you to live in them long-term. Some motorhomes come with extra features, such as a washer and dryer, a living room, or a den. If these additional features are essential, choose a motorhome that has them.
Due to space limitations, a smaller RV, such as a campervan or Class B motorhome will likely have fewer standard features. You may need to compromise on having a full kitchen and opt for a mini-fridge, microwave, stovetop burners, and minimal storage. Our Ninja Foodie is a huge benefit when we're traveling. We use it almost every day for one-pot meals instead of heating up the entire kitchen.
Check for Reviews from RV Owners Before Buying
When shopping for an RV, be sure to check for reviews online. This will give you a perspective about what other people thought about the RV and help you determine if a particular model is a good fit for you.
Reading reviews about the RV lifestyle can help you decide whether or not an RV is right for you. Here are a variety of sites that give a good perspective on what to expect when you head out for the open trails:
What Kind of RV Should You Buy?
There are various types and styles of Recreational Vehicles available on the market. Some of the most popular ones are:
Class A RVs are large and most expensive, but they also have the space available to be luxurious. They come with many amenities, including a kitchen, a bathroom, and a bedroom. They're perfect for long-term travel and can easily accommodate a family or group of friends. The Class A driver will need to be skilled at driving a large vehicle, and everyone must chip in to help with watching for low limbs, size-restricted roads, and parking hazards. These units are generally 30 to 36 feet long and are built on a large commercial chassis with a V8 or V10 engine (gas or diesel). You’ll need to practice driving and become comfortable maneuvering this large “house on wheels” before taking to the open roads.
A Class C motorhome is an excellent option for those who want all the amenities of a Class A RV but don't want to spend the extra money. They come with a kitchen, a bathroom, and a bedroom and often have slide-outs for additional space when the vehicle is parked. They're perfect for long-term travel and can easily accommodate 2 to 5 people. At 30 feet in length, a typical Class C provides ample space and will be less restrictive than Class A when navigating mountain roads or city parking. However, if you are not accustomed to driving large vehicles, take the extra time to learn the vehicle and boost your driving skills.
The Class B motorhome is smaller than the Class A and Class C units and is easier to drive because they are built on a commercial van chassis. Conveniences may include a full kitchen, flush toilet and shower, overhead air-conditioning, and television for entertainment. Like the larger motorhomes, Class B is fully self-contained. These may have a hitch to tow a trailer or tiny vehicle but less towing capacity than the larger motorhome units. Class B van models may feature stability controls, front airbags, and other safety features. Also consider that the engines are common, making them easier to service and easier to locate parts for repairs.
These are smaller than motorhomes and are more suited for camping trips. They typically come with a small kitchen and a bed and usually do not have a shower or toilet accommodations. The campervan owner may choose parks with favorable ratings for their in-park amenities such as shower or bathhouses, laundry facilities, and fire pits.
These are perfect for people who want to camp but don't want to give up all the amenities of home. Tent trailers come with just the essentials but often include a cooking station, refrigeration, a compact bathroom, and even air conditioning. These are sometimes referred to as Pop-Up tents.
A tent trailer can be an affordable option for many nature lovers.
Fifth wheels are a unique type of RV that is towed by a truck with a special hitch in the truck bed. They are larger than camper vans but generally smaller than motorhomes. These units come with full amenities such as a kitchen, a bathroom with a shower, and a separate bedroom. If you're looking for an RV with a bit of everything and ample towing capacity with your truck or larger SUV, then a fifth wheel may be an ideal solution. We rented the fifth-wheel RV (shown in the photo above) using Outdoorsy.com for a recent trip to Florida.
Consider Buying an Older RV to Save Money
When it's time to pay for an RV, there are a few things you need to consider. One of those things is your budget. RVs can be expensive, but there are ways to save money. One way to do that is by considering an older RV. Older RVs can be found at a fraction of the cost of newer models. We were thrilled to find a suitable used RV model when we were buying our first RV in 2014. Our Jayco Class C was a pre-owned unit that was more than ten years old at the time of purchase and had less than 9,000 miles on it! We found it online, visited the dealer location, conducted the test drive, and had an excellent experience buying our first RV motorhome.
Ask Experienced RV Owners for Advice
When you're looking for an RV, it can be helpful to talk to other RV owners. They can advise you on what to look for, avoid, and get the most benefits for your money. So don't be afraid to ask around – you'll likely get some great tips from people who know what they're talking about.
Take a Test Drive Before Buying Your First RV
Be sure to test drive any RV before you buy it. Like with a car, you need to make sure the RV is comfortable to drive. If it's not, then you'll be unhappy with your purchase. Drive on a highway and take turns to both the left and right to simulate how the machine moves in a real-world environment. Practice parallel parking and backing into designated spaces.
Don't Skimp on Insurance
RV repairs can be expensive, and if something happens while you're on a road trip, it's vital to have good RV insurance. Insurance will offset your financial outlay in case of accidents or damage to your RV. The right insurance policy will also provide financial relief after unfortunate circumstances like theft or vandalism. If you are traveling in another country, include the appropriate insurance riders for international medical costs or legal fees.
There are many RV insurance policy options available, so be sure to shop around and find one that's right for you. Create a spreadsheet or tracker for a comparison of several options to choose the best solution for your situation. And don't forget – insurance will provide the peace of mind that comes with knowing you're covered.
Shop Around for Your First RV
When shopping for an RV, shop around and compare prices at multiple dealership locations. You'll want to find the best deal possible, and that's not always easy to do. But by shopping around, you'll be able to compare prices and find the RV that's right for you. So don't be afraid to shop around – you may be surprised at what you see.
Not all RV dealers are willing to haggle, but it never hurts to ask. If you see an RV that you like, but the price is too high, don't be afraid to ask the dealer if they're willing to lower the cost. Some dealers will be ready to negotiate, so it's always worth a shot. And who knows – you may just get the RV you want at a price you can afford.
Be Prepared to Walk Away
If you find yourself in a situation where the dealer isn't willing to budge on price, don't be afraid to (1) walk away or (2) define conditions to offset the price differential. For instance, if the price is over your budget by a few thousand dollars, ask for new tires, a maintenance package, or a Family Motorcoach Association (FMCA) – this organization offers community information, discounts, and resources for travelers.
Good Sam – Known for roadside assistance, the Good Sam membership provides discounts and other benefits while you're on the road and the optional roadside assistance membership. They provide rental units on the website which is a great way to try out different styles and models before buying.
Harvest Hosts – This organization is a network of wineries, farms, and tourist attractions. They offer overnight camping for RVers and the opportunity for campers to experience a bit of their daily living. The annual membership grants access to the list of participants in the network.
This is the most important tip of all. Buying an RV for weekend trips or to live it up during retirement should be a fun and exciting experience. Enjoy the process, and don't let anything stress you out.
So, there you have it – twelve tips for choosing the perfect retirement vehicle. With these tips in mind, you'll be sure to find the RV that's right for you. And don't forget – the more you know, the better equipped you'll be to make the right decision for you or your family. So, take your time, diligently do your research, and happy RVing!
We hope you enjoyed these tips on buying an RV for retirees. If you have any questions or want more information, please feel free to contact us. We are more than happy to help you in any way we can!
Do you have an RV already? If not, what kind are you interested in? Let us know in the comments below! And be sure to check out our website for more information on our RV adventures. We would love to help you find YOUR perfect RV!